Common Symptoms of Fleas

Knowing how to get rid of fleas on puppies starts with knowing that your puppy is infested. Watch for these common symptoms of fleas and know that finding those fleas early on is important to keep your puppy healthy. 

  • Flea dirt or droppings - If you spot dark, grain-of-sand-sized particles in your dog’s coat, it’s likely flea droppings. If you comb out your dog’s coat with a flea comb and wet the resulting dirt, a red-brown color indicates flea droppings.

  • Flea eggs - Another small-sized symptom to watch for, flea eggs are tiny white grains.

  • Fleas themselves - If you see little dark spots that move around, you could be seeing fleas.

  • Constant or excessive scratching, licking, or biting the skin - Your puppy is itchy from fleas!

  • Itchy family members - Family members can become just as itchy from flea bites.

  • Scabs, hair loss, and hot spots - All of that itching, biting, and licking leads to scabs and hot spots that make your dog uncomfortable. With enough scratching and scabs, your puppy may lose patches of hair.

Why Flea Management is Vital

Fleas are not just annoying. They are a health risk, for your puppy and for any other animal or person in your home.

Fleas transmit tapeworms, which can happen if a pet ingests a flea while grooming. They also carry bacteria that can impact your pet and the human members of your household. Flea allergies are also possible for pets, leading to itching and a rash caused by the flea’s saliva. The uncontrollable itching from an allergy may cause infection. And, your puppy could end up with anemia with a heavy flea infestation. If you see pale gums on your puppy, and/or your pup has a lack of energy, anemia could be the problem. In puppies, this is even more problematic as it can be life-threatening owing to a lower number of red blood cells in a growing dog.

Complications of Getting Rid of Fleas on Puppies

Knowing how to get rid of fleas on puppies is a bit different from knowing how to get rid of fleas on older dogs. Because puppies are small and growing, their diagnosis and treatment may not be the same as that of a larger dog. 

The age and weight of your puppy matters in addressing fleas. Selamectin products can be used for seven weeks. Fipronil is okay for puppies ages eight weeks and up, and spinosad can only be used at 14 weeks of age or older. 

The chemicals used in medications can be too harsh for small puppies under the age limits, and some can negatively impact a young dog’s nervous system. Unwanted side effects for a young dog can include excessive salivation, vomiting, respiratory distress, paralysis, and seizures. 

Still, eradicating the infestation is vital in a vulnerable young dog. For puppies younger than six weeks old, there are generally no pharmaceutical approaches to getting rid of fleas. These very young dogs have to be treated with combing and picking, using a flea comb and tweezers to remove fleas physically. The fleas should be killed, either through squishing or dropping into boiling water. 

Be sure to wash household items, especially the puppy’s bedding, treating with an anti-flea insecticide then washing with hot water. Vacuum the home and treat the puppy’s mother if she is in the household as well, along with any other pets. If the puppies are still nursing, make sure that any medications are safe for lactating mothers. Selamectin based products are usually safe for pregnant and lactating dogs. 

As for your pup, a flea shampoo will not get rid of flea larvae or eggs but can soothe your puppy’s skin. It also works to remove adult fleas. 

Options for Flea Eradication in Older Puppies

Whether your options are medical or not medical, depending on your puppy’s age, immediate treatment is ideal. For dogs of an appropriate weight and/or age, oral flea medications are designed to treat fleas at various stages of life, attacking adult fleas, flea larvae, or the ability for adults to lay eggs. 

A flea treatment with an adulticide chemical ensures that adult fleas are killed and cannot continue biting or reproducing. Spinosad kills only adult fleas, overstimulating their nervous system. 

For best results, look for a flea treatment that includes an insect growth regulator. These medications stop young fleas from developing into adults that can bite. Lufenuron, for example, contains an IGR that ensures larvae will not survive.

For quick fast-acting flea treatment, ideal for short-term management but not prevention, an insecticide like nitenpyram works to kill adult fleas in as little as a half-hour. Your puppy is still at risk for infestation, so a preventative treatment will also be needed.

Preventing Fleas in Puppies

Now that you know how to get rid of fleas on puppies, you can turn your eye toward prevention. By getting a handle on flea prevention now you can avoid costly and frustrating outbreaks in the future.

Part of prevention is cleaning, with regular vacuuming and laundering. Anywhere your pet likes to spend time should be cleaned, including your bed if your puppy sleeps there. Be careful to clean around and under raised areas, as when your pet jumps up, fleas can fall. 

Flea prevention medications are something your puppy can use year-round, understanding that even in colder weather, fleas may remain in the pull stage, dormant and waiting for a host in warmer conditions. 

Topical medications usually work to both kill and repel fleas. They are applied where your puppy cannot lick the medication off, and last for a shorter amount of time, typically about a month. Like oral medications, you can choose the flea treatment you need based on what stage of life needs to be treated. 

Some oral medications are also good for both immediate treatment and ongoing prevention. Talk to your veterinarian about which medication will work best for your puppy, especially considering his or her weight and age. 

Whichever flea medication works best to treat your puppy, we make it affordable. With access to products from our online pharmacy, you will enjoy flea treatment for your puppy, including quality and safety, at a fraction of the cost. 

We offer an extensive selection of flea and tick medication for use on dogs and cats, so you are sure to find the product you need. Contact us for more information.